There are probably more than a few backyard or garage mini ramps in Calgary. Since there is no indoor skatepark, us skateboarders need somewhere to skate during the long winters.
“The Mental Block” is the name given to a unique garage ramp, mostly built by three veteran Calgary skaters. We chatted with them about it to learn more.
Why did you build this ramp? What was the inspiration?
Most of the inspiration was from some of the other garage ramps I’d skated over the last few years and the lack of places to skate in the winter. Especially since The Source [skatepark] closed down.
Where had you been skating previous winters?
For the last couple winters it’s been the other guys’ garage ramps in town [names withheld]. I built my own last year in my old house– just a little 8 foot wide one. I moved 6 months later, had a bigger garage, and said, “F#$% this!” and built my own little ‘Skateopia’.
Where did the name of the ramp come from?
I put some parking blocks on it for something different. That’s where the name came from. Everyone that came over to skate was intimidated by the big block and like we all know, everything in skating comes down to a mental thing, so the name stuck. “The Mental Block”.
How long did this ramp take to make?
Started on it about two weeks before Christmas, worked on it mostly every weekend and the odd weeknight and today (February 17th) we put the last pieces in. I’d say it took a good two and a half months overall.
How many people helped out?
Well, there were three main guys but I called in a few other friends who helped out too. There were about 10 in total who helped and also donated a few bucks for masonite, 2 by 4s, and bags of cement. We’re all in our 30s, tradesmen, so we were able to figure it out.
What was the hardest part? The coping? The bowled corner?
I wouldn’t say the bowled corner was the hardest thing to do but it was the most time consuming. Lots of details. The coping was a first time pour so it was kind of nerve racking. We had enough guys that we knew we could sort it out. It worked out pretty good.
Did you go off any plans?
The plans were from the original ramp that was three feet high by eight feet wide. I shuffled a few ideas around with the layout of the garage and this is the optimum layout.
Are you worried about your neighbours at all?
No. We’ve done a lot of soundproofing with carpet and we keep the sessions light and small. I want to be a good neighbour.
Any plans to build more?
There’s talk of a spine already in the parking block corner but that’s a long way down the road.